Are you just getting started with SEO? Perhaps you’ve heard that SEO can assist in bringing traffic to your website and help you rank higher, but you’re unsure how it works or what areas to focus on.
This year, SEO is booming, and its demand has reached an all-time high. As consumers migrated in droves to the internet, even the most conventional businesses encountered the need to transition to digital.
SEO forms the most practical strategy to understand and attract customers at critical stages, where approximately 97% of online searchers look for local businesses.
As an SEO agency, we are aware that many companies require SEO to get maximum visibility and organic traffic. However, what if you’re a local business wanting to boost foot traffic to your actual location?
How does local SEO differ from traditional organic search optimization, and which should you use? What are the benefits of local SEO? Luckily, we are here to answer all of your SEO vs. local SEO questions.
How does a Search Engine work?
Before delving into the distinctions between organic and local search, it’s vital to understand how a search engine operates at a high level and how a business benefits from local SEO.
While no one outside of Google’s inner circle understands all that goes into their search algorithm, we can give you a rudimentary summary of how search engines like Google work.
The operation of a search engine may be broken down into three simple steps:
Considering search engines, such as Google, to be vast online content libraries. They operate by crawling websites (following connections), analyzing their information page by page, classifying their material with other similarly relevant content, and indexing those sites’ pages for users to locate through searches on the front end.
When users type keywords into the search field, the search engine extracts information from its index that is most relevant to those queries to show on the search engine results page, commonly known as SERPs.
Understanding the fundamentals of how a search engine works will help you grasp the necessity of optimizing your site’s content so that the search engine sees it as important as you intend it to be for your ideal customer and avail the benefits of local SEO.
But how does local search differ from organic search, and what does this signify for your SEO approach in both cases?
What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
Traditional and local SEO both aim to improve your ranking on search engine results. Resultantly, more people can find, contact, and buy from your company. Here’s the difference:
Traditional SEO focuses on increasing your site’s exposure on a national or worldwide scale. On the other hand, local SEO helps you conquer the local search territory so you can connect to local searchers.
Many tactics used in both are the same. But local SEO solutions use customized tactics to help you connect with searchers in your region.
Why local SEO?
While organic search results are based on the relevance of each user’s search query, links (both internal and external), and other search ranking factors, the local search takes a different approach and provides benefits of local SEO: It provides locationally relevant information based on the local purpose behind its users’ search queries.
Organic search benefits a significantly larger audience of informational and transactional searchers (think featured snippets for common questions and e-commerce stores).
While the benefits of local SEO search continue to serve the informational searcher, there is a greater feeling of purchase intent inside a user’s local search query.
Users doing local search queries are seeking a company or location they can visit in person, as well as a service that will come to their place. Consider your area doctor, in-home healthcare providers, plumbers, attorneys, and eateries. But what precisely causes users’ search intent to be local?
Typical local intent search queries contain the following modifiers:
- [term] + city
- [term] + close to me
- [term] + nearest me
In the last few years, “near me” searches have surged by more than 500%.
These modifiers function to narrow down a user’s search results based on their location, how far they’re willing to go, and the urgency of the search. However, these modifiers have lately disappeared from users’ requests.
Google has indicated that neural matching has been applied for local searches.
The benefits of local SEO
As a small business owner, you may believe there is no use in investing time and money to enhance your Google presence when you’re competing for top ranks with Walmart and Amazon. That may be true for the major organic listings, but it is not true for local search.
Local SEO helps you to engage with individuals in your area, town, or city. You can avail of the benefits of local SEO whether you have a real brick-and-mortar business or service a specific geographical area.
This is significant since 81% of consumers now use Google to evaluate local companies.
1. Increased online visibility
Many local SEO efforts will not only help you boost your visibility in local search results but will also help you improve your overall online exposure and provide the benefits of local SEO.
Citation building, for example, is an important aspect of local SEO. This entails increasing the number of times your company’s name, physical address (preferably with zip code), and phone number appear in directories, social media accounts, and online review systems.
2. Increased foot traffic in the store
Increased local visibility can help drive more foot traffic to your physical business, whether it’s a café, dry cleaning shop, or hardware shop. You can get the benefits of local SEO.
If you’ve spent a lot of money on specialized equipment, created an inventive environment, or have a physical presence because your items are better experienced in person, increasing the number of people who stop by can help you build a buzz about your place and earn more sales.
3. Generate income from the local shopping boom
Consumers’ buying patterns have shifted dramatically in recent years. One of the most significant is that when it comes to purchasing decisions, today’s customers increasingly prefer local companies.
According to research, customers are thinking smaller and preferring to value small, local, independent enterprises above larger, brand-name items or experiences.
56% of customers say they intentionally devote their attention to local businesses and actively seek out items based locally.
4. Targeted web traffic
Every minute you spend dealing with unqualified leads or customers who are unlikely to make a purchase or book service is money lost for your small business.
The benefits of local SEO may help filter out irrelevant traffic and eliminate time drains that keep your business running smoothly, ensuring that your firm is only accessible to search users in your local region.
With 59% of search users using Google to research an in-store purchase, this may be a significant advantage because it allows you to focus your resources on those consumers who are most likely to convert.
5. Increased trust levels
It’s no secret that reviews are important benefits of local SEO performance and ranking. The more reviews you receive as part of your reputation management plan, the higher your visibility in local search.
Reviews are also necessary for establishing consumer trust, which is a prerequisite for every commercial transaction.
According to research, more people than ever before are reading online evaluations regularly, with half saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
6. More maps users’ calls and visits
Improving your Google Business Profile might result in increased visibility on Google Maps. According to a survey, 61% of buyers prefer to support local companies that have both physical presence and online platforms.
Because Google Maps was expressly created to help users identify local services and plan their routes, this can lead to increased calls and in-person visits.
7. Increased sales
According to Think With Google study, 28% of local searches result in a purchase: When choosing a local business, consumers utilize internet reviews to aid in their decision-making process. One in Every eight people search the internet for information about a local company more than once a week.
Being able to offer them genuine recommendations from their peers for your organization as a consequence of your reputation management work is a great benefit that emphasizes the importance of local SEO.
Do SEO and local SEO have an impact on one another?
It is difficult to segregate traditional and local SEO. There is some overlap between the two. However, if done effectively, your local SEO efforts will most likely benefit your traditional SEO. If you already have an SEO strategy in place, a few modifications may be all that is needed to start delivering more quality local visitors.
Adding location-specific keywords and material, as opposed to the more generic information, helps you appeal to a local audience. It will also increase your chances of ranking in relevant search results.
Which one is the best option for your business?
Organic SEO is typically used by businesses that want to rank for certain keywords and have trustworthy content. Businesses that concentrate on a local search marketing strategy, on the other hand, attempt to rank for specific locations related to the business.
The decision between Organic SEO and Local SEO is influenced by the nature and kind of business and the benefits of local SEO. If your clients aren’t linked to a single region, Organic SEO is the way to go.
Local SEO, on the other hand, is ideal for businesses that only sell their products or deliver their services in a certain geographical region. Looking to get started with local SEO? Contact us!